Sep 27, 2009

Battle at Barlow, Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Battle at Barlow CycloCross Race, 9/27/09.
The series where everyone knows your name.
Let's just say that cross has a few perks. It is not my strength or my favorite by ANY stretch of the imagination, but there is a lot to be said in it's favor. Today's race was at Barlow High School. I kept thinking about one of the transgender teens I used to work with who got expelled from that school for using the women's bathroom. The Gresham school district ended up having to pay for a private tutor for her at her house, after a lawsuit which they essentially lost. Gresham tax payers had to pay for a full year of a private at home tutor because the school would not change it's dress code policy.
Anyway, we sufficiently put some ruts in their grass. I inhaled a ton of dust, rode with a huge grin on my face, and did four laps at max oxygen absorption. After telling everyone I was planning on representing at the back, I did not come in last by a long shot (well at least 6 or 7 from last anyway). The course was hot and dry, my favorite. My asthma always gets me in cross due to the running, the sprinting on the bike, and either dust or cold air, which are both hard on my weak lungs. My legs felt great, even after a hardish 60 mile ride yesterday in Hood River, so that was nice. I passed a bunch of women, and did not get passed back.
Ok, so the pluses of cross are:
Everyone gets to see a lot of you, and therefore cheer. Everyone who knows your name cheers for you, even if you aren't on their team. Everyone who is racing WITH YOU cheers for you, while they are racing, even if they aren't on your team. So basically cross is a cacophony of yelling and cow bells. You get to go around in circles on ridiculous things like railroad ties, sideways grass hills and patchy gravel paths. It doesn't feel like a race at all, it feels like a zoo for humans, an obstacle course, an adult playground. It is bizarre. And fun.
I'll be back next week, spoke cards and all.

Deschutes National Forest Bike Tour

Annual Summer Bike Tour, 2009:
Deschutes National Forest, August 2009, 5 days with Katy Monster. Every summer I go on a bike tour, and I always go somewhere I've never gone before. This summer Katy and I ventured through the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Highway, or something like that. All I can tell you is that we rode up one of the most amazing roads I have ever seen... I'm talking lakes every 10 miles, rivers, streams, lava fields, pine forests, campgrounds and very little traffic. Why more folks weren't out in this scenic wonderland just a hop skip and a jump from Bend is beyond me. None the less, that was to our advantage, as it was smooth sailing most of the trip.
We drove to Oakridge Oregon, and had a blast at the bike shop there. The guys were super nice, and said they loved talking to folks who toured, because mostly they just get mountain bikers in there. It was a few days before Mt Bike Oregon, so we knew they were soon to be slammed. They let me lay the huge map on the shop floor and they pointed out all the good roads, and the ones to avoid, and basically gave us the thumbs up about our route and told us where we could park the car at Odell Lake. To Odell it was, and we parked the car and took off. We climbed some good elevation on the first day and really couldn't believe how beautiful it was as soon as you were on the scenic highway (which was not a highway at all, but rather a quiet two lane road). We pulled over many times to take pictures, and took many pictures while riding.
We camped at a quiet stunning creek the first night, we are talking REAL quiet. The 2 day we rode a nice long day up and over Mt Bachelor and seriously swam in about 5 different lakes on the way, including fully clothed in our spandex a couple times since it was so hot. We had a sweet decent down from the top of bachelor to Sunriver, where we spent much of the time riding on the yellow line in the middle of the road since there were absolutely no cars in either direction. I don't know where all the cars were, but I am sure am glad they weren't there!
We rolled into the quite awful Sunriver Mini Mall type area for treats, and got some sort of frozen something or others. We left as quickly as we arrived, and pedalled to the Deschutes River to camp on night two.
Day three we had a mission called Paulina Lakes. This involved a lot of climbing. Ok, keep in mind we have tons of gear with us, as Katy does not like to pack light, and I do not like to eat light. So we roll up the never ending mountain to Paulina Lakes and Newberry Crater at a snails pace in the mega heat of summer. We stop many times, aquire more animal bones on the side of the road, and rest at mile 10, where a moutain bike ride is about to start down the power lines called the Paulina Plunge because it follows the creek down the mountain and there are natural waterslides! No kidding!
We make it to the top, and decide to add a bunch more miles by checking out the obsidian flow and all the campgrounds on both lakes. We settle on the last campground the furthest away, and enjoy the setting sun on the stunning volcanic crater.
Day four we ride the lovely descent. Ah freedom. We decide to make this a long day and ride all the way back to the car. Basically this meant we pedalled, swam, pedalled, swam, pedalled some more and flagged down three cars for water since there were no services anywhere. We rode all day and landed back at the car at Odell quite hungry and just in time for the Taxidermy Show! Well, needless to say with my pink Veloshop shirt, and Katy's Legalize Gay shirt, we didn't hang out with the hunters. We drove in to Oakridge to check out night one of Mt Bike Oregon, and I decided to sign up for next year. We went to the local Mexican restaurant and I ate a giant burrito. SO GOOD.
Can we please ride bikes all year long? I want to tour, tour, tour...